Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-09: Beyond the Halflight Path PDF

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A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3–7.

The sprawling maze of caverns and tunnels beneath the hilltop city of Kaer Maga are home to a host of dangers and mysteries. A dedicated group of guards called the Duskwardens is responsible for protecting Kaer Magans and visitors alike from everything that lurks below. Despite the Duskwardens' best efforts, the influence of one of the vaults has been spreading on to the streets of Kaer Maga. It falls to a group Pathfinder Society agents to navigate the factions of Kaer Maga to access and strike at the heart of the lurking threat.

Beyond the Halflight Path is an evergreen, replayable scenario designed to provide a flexible adventure that confronts the PCs with a variety of threats more common to higher-level characters. The scenario has nine different possible villains, as well as myriad other options for the GM to customize the dangers that the PCs face.

Written by Brian Duckwitz.

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****( ) (based on 10 ratings)

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Flexible and Customizable Dungeon Crawl.

****( )

Gm'd this in High Tier.

Very fun dungeon crawl making good use of the Bigger Caverns flip-mat. What I like most about this is the ability to customize and flex a little bit of creative control over a Society Scenario. I believe that you get the most out of this if you go through the differing monsters yourself and pick out the ones you want. Although story light, I was able to create a cohesive theme by go through the tables myself as opposed to rolling and I think my players really appreciated it.

That being said, the formatting of the scenario is a bit clunky and difficult to navigate in PDF form while running a game and there are more than a few typos and formatting errors, that make the technical side of the scenario a little messy. Editorial step up your game! (Sorry Publishing Nerd here)


Good new evergreen

****( )

I have run and played this now several times. Overall I think it is a good addition to the evergreen stable. It is similar to Tome but with a variation on the starting investigation portion which can soak up too much time unless you keep the players well on track. It is easy for them to want to go off exploring all the leads when it is just an excuse to get them to the actual adventure portion.

The different paths you can take are varied, with a good mix of different types of opposition. While you can pick randomly I strongly suggest not doing that and choosing something more suitable for your group instead. It is significantly less spikey than Tome (which has some very over tuned encounters) but can still offer plenty of challenge.


This is a very randomized module. It can be great, okay, or awful.

****( )

After playing through this, I purchased it. It's 91 pages long. For a 4 hour time slot, 91 pages. Except, here's the trick: you only use about 12 pages. Not only are there multiple maps to choose from, but there are also 3 major story lines with little extra variations, and a slew of monster encounters that are (usually) randomly rolled for and then arranged in a dungeon by a GM. So you winnow it down to just the few things you select, and use only that.

This can be overwhelming, if you try to have all 91 pages ready to go! A GM would really, truly do well to pre-select some random arrangements, and then get very familiar with that pre-selected setup. If you try to learn all 91 pages and monsters and then pick them on the fly, it's going to be a nightmare. If you don't bother to learn any of it beforehand and then try to manage it all spontaneously as the random rolls dictate the encounters, it's going to be a sloppy mess.

For my particular play through, this is what I enjoyed about this module: it was hard. Some of the fights in the high tier were taking down PCs left & right. Nobody died, but we had PCs going unconscious at various points. After the game, I looked up the monster's stat block, and realized it could have been worse. We got off easy because the GM didn't have a perfect grasp of how to play the monster optimally. (And that may again be due to the module being 91 pages and waaaaayyy too much for a GM to sift through in a 4 hour time slot.)

The map is, frankly, beautiful. At least, the "Bigger Cavern" map with the crystals on it is great to look at and to try to maneuver through. (There is a flip side to the Bigger Cavern product, and it's not as pretty, and it's used for 1 of the story lines here.) There are tight spaces, open spaces, water, the crystals, height changes, and so on. People can leap off ledges, swim, get bullrushed off of bridges (or bullrush the enemies!), can get higher ground (+1 to melee attacks!), and finally, as mentioned, there are fun challenges to deal with like the squeezing rules. There are little corners to hide in, too. It's a great map.

Spoiler:
GMs, please note. There is one spot on the map where narrow stairs take the PCs from elevation 0 to elevation 15' in just a single square. The PCs are going 15' up, but doing it by moving through just 1 square on the map (or at least mostly 1 square). This has gotta cost more than 5' of movement!

What else can I tell you? Well, you are going to reconnect with some old friends/enemies in Kaer Maga, that's for sure. If you've played the older products (like The City of Strangers, part 1 & 2), then you'll be familiar with many areas here. If not, you can hope you get a GM who is in love with this giant city on a cliff, and hope he/she introduces you to some of the interesting locales on the city.

Final word: this is a trainwreck or a wonderful time, mostly depending upon how your GM assembles this product. It has great potential, and you could play and re-play this a handful of times before you felt like you had exhausted most of the variations and story details. And the gameplay is great, if done well. So look for a good GM and hope that he/she is well prepared!


Needs guidence for GM's...

***( )( )

Like it's predecessor 3-7 evergreen, needs more GM instruction on encounter balance. While there are two tiers, still possible to have a APL barely over the line forced to play up. These groups may not be able to handle some of the most deadliest aspects of the Higher Tier.

Random generated dungeons are nothing more than a dungeon crawl as plots are too disconnected. Keep that in mind then it delivers as a dungeon crawl.

Spoiler:
It is not fun to be in a APL 5.4, forced to high tier and have a GM spring the worst trap on you (11d6) then say sorry there is no 4 player adjustment for traps. The GM's need to know they are the 4 party adjustment in those situations.


The most adaptable scenario

*****

I've run this once, at high subtier for a party of six. I plan to run it again enough times that I'm making map tiles out of the flip mat PDFs and some props and terrain to go with it. It really is a great scenario.

First, the setting: Kaer Maga is one of the best settings in Golarion. We spent a lot of time in the investigation phase, and each "travel" segment can discover another cool aspect of the City of Strangers. For groups that want to roleplay, there is enough material to replay a bunch of times and still meet new people. I'm glad the troll augurs appear, but there's also room to have the party chat with gargoyles or a naga, filling ut the NPc roster and breathing life into those "gather information" rolls.

Once the investigation completes, the dungeon crawl begins - although even here there is some room for negotaiation. Despite being on a bigger map, there are enough encounters that it can be easy to trigger more than one, if the party is breezing through them. There are also some terrifying encounters that will challenge every the most powerful damage-dealers. I prepped my list based on the characters and players who signed up, choosing ones that would challenge them. In a convention game, I might leave one of the foes near the back of the map undetermined, so that it could be adapted to the party at hand. Given the range of foes, it would be easy to prep a set of encounters and then wipe the floor with an underprepared party.

The choice of encounters is excellent. There are horror encounters, and funny encounters, and could-be-roleplaying encounters. The are certain combinations that make a hilarious amount of sense. There are devious traps and hazards, and there are encounters with lots of creatures as well as single monsters. There are encounters that are straightforward, and some that are challenging (including one at APL+4!).

Particularly nice is that the goal itself changes each time, not just the monsters you fight. This really helps make each run seem like its own scenario. The only drawback is the use of the same map a bit too often - I understand why, but once players have seen the map once or twice they know a lot about the "dressing" and it loses its impact. I'd love to see some method of randomizing map tiles and/or assigning descriptions to rooms, to help make this part different each time as well.

I love this scenario. It sets the bar for evergreens in the future.

side note on Bigger Flip Maps:
They are too big to fit on a standard round convention table and leave enough room for each player to have their own space. This is the real reason I'm making tiles, so I can present the map piecemeal but still have it at full resolution.


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Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Huzzah! Back to Kaer Maga!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I hope you like it!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I must admit that I am nervous about returning to Kaer Maga. I really hope a particular NPC doesn't make her way into this scenario.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Iammars wrote:
I must admit that I am nervous about returning to Kaer Maga. I really hope a particular NPC doesn't make her way into this scenario.

In planning this scenario, we specifically noted that said NPC should not appear here for reasons you're likely thinking.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I am glad to hear it, especially considering the replayable nature of the scenario.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yes, thank you for that.

*breathes a sigh of relief*

The Exchange

Any word yet about what maps may be in this one?


JERRY WAYNE 073 wrote:
Any word yet about what maps may be in this one?

Echoing this. Want to make sure I have it when I (probably) run this.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This scenario sounds like a lot of fun. I love Kaer Maga. I would also love to know what the map list includes as I already have it scheduled for a gameday about a week after its release.


Yay! More Kaer Maga madness!!!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Maps in Pathfinder Society Scenario #9–09: Beyond the Halflight Path:

This scenario uses only Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Bigger Caverns

The Exchange

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Just one map for 'From the Tome of Righteous Repose' and just one map for 'Beyond the Halflight Path'? I am loving that trend!

Grand Lodge

JERRY WAYNE 073 wrote:
Just one map for 'From the Tome of Righteous Repose' and just one map for 'Beyond the Halflight Path'? I am loving that trend!

Same. Makes life very easy when it comes to prep and running the game.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
kevin_video wrote:
JERRY WAYNE 073 wrote:
Just one map for 'From the Tome of Righteous Repose' and just one map for 'Beyond the Halflight Path'? I am loving that trend!
Same. Makes life very easy when it comes to prep and running the game.

It's definitely nice when it can work out that way, and the Bigger Flip-Mat line has provided us with some fertile ground for this style of adventure. It's a trend we hope to continue, map opportunities willing.

Grand Lodge

John Compton wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
JERRY WAYNE 073 wrote:
Just one map for 'From the Tome of Righteous Repose' and just one map for 'Beyond the Halflight Path'? I am loving that trend!
Same. Makes life very easy when it comes to prep and running the game.
It's definitely nice when it can work out that way, and the Bigger Flip-Mat line has provided us with some fertile ground for this style of adventure. It's a trend we hope to continue, map opportunities willing.

Awesome. In the meantime, hopefully some of the maps we need for other scenarios, that are currently discontinued, will see the light of day once more as Classics.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

...I'm looking at you, DARKLANDS! *coughs*

EDIT: Looking forward to seeing this scenario in action.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm not well-versed in Kaer Maga lore at all and was reading the title as "Below the Halfling Path" by mistake for a while. My hype went through the roof and then someone told me this scenario is not about halflings :(
Still hyped though.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Very cool!


It seems that Twisted Caverns is meant to replace things like Darklands Flip Mat.


*waits to be able to click the purchase button*


andreww wrote:
*waits to be able to click the purchase button*

*waits right along with andreww*

What time do these things become clickable?
Thought if something was supposed to be released on 11/29 I would beable to click before it becomes 11/30...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Haven't had my copy drop either.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I was going to ask when this will this be added to my downloads, but TOZ beat me to it.

Hmm

The Exchange

Current Product Description wrote:
Will be available yesterday

It’s a bit of a mind flip

Then you’re into the time slip...

Let’s do the Time Warp Again!


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

See this post.


David knott 242 wrote:

See this post.

That seems to be about subscribers however we still cannot just purchase the scenario in the usual way.

Grand Lodge

andreww wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

See this post.

That seems to be about subscribers however we still cannot just purchase the scenario in the usual way.

It's actually both. She said she was going to work on the issue about not being able to obtain the PDF normally when she came into work this morning, but the issues from yesterday had kept her well past her shift. So hopefully today it'll be resolved.


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I have had similar issues with non-subscription PDFs that I bought. It is not even limited to Paizo publications.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

It's dropped for me!

Hmm


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This module was nothing but a ton of fun and I loved it. So far, by far, the best PFS Adventure I have had the pleasure to play.

Enough RP to be engaging, but not so much to bog everyone down with exposition. The visual and story elements were more than enough to get the story going and give us a real feel for things.

My Favorite NPC::
The troll soothsayer? Talk about reading entrails!

I only played it once, and I understand that it can change each time, so I can only speak from the scenario we did, so, going from there...

Oh what a nasty monster!:
We ran into a Golem, and oh my good gracious was that thing a hard fight. We had a mixed group of 1 4, 1 5, and 3 7's. It was incredibly fun and challenging.

10/10 this was my favorite adventure in PFS so far.

Scarab Sages

Question about some text in the scenario.

Spoiler:

Page 28 and 29 it refers to the Shining Deep for Handout #4 and after the NPC Text. Is it supposed to mean Sparklegrim Passage or actually the Shining Deep?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Kyle, take the red pill! Come to the GM thread on this topic! Yes, that is a typo. Ignore it. It is one of many bizarre and sometimes amusing typos in this fabulous build your own dungeon adventure.

Hmm

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

An update! An update!

An email, recently received, wrote:


We have updated the Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-09: Beyond the Halflight Path PDF with the following changes:
  • Created a new file of three chronicle sheets, one for each vault, for player use. Each sheet sorts treasure by story arc.
  • Moved the existing chronicle sheet to the back of the file.
  • Added DCs for saving throws to the sidebar about check DCs.
  • Added clarification that GMs may select the ceiling height in each room to best fit the chosen encounters.
  • Fixed various typos, including cleaning up the charts in the back of
    the book to make it clearer which monsters appear at which subtier.
If you wish to download the updated version, you may do so for free at http://paizo.com/paizo/account/assets.

The everything-on-one-sheet chronicle remains in the back of the scenario, and is still given to GMs. However, there are now three neatly-organized chronicles that can be given out to players. It's a very nice update!

I haven't gone through explicitly to compare typos and the like, but what I saw looked fixed. The save DCs were there, for example.

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